Some of my earliest memories are horrible. As a kid, before my parents divorced, I remember hiding under my desk or behind my door when my father would yell and scream at my mom. Or I would play with my toys, pretending I couldn’t hear it. I remember the crack on the garage ceiling from him slamming the door so often. I remember crawling into bed with my crying mother, offering her my blanket, after my father stormed out of the house.
When you’re just a little girl, you don’t think much of it. So daddy gets mad over the smallest things, so what? So he yells and screams all the time, don’t they all?
And then you get older, and you make friends, and you meet their parents. And you notice that their parents don’t do that. Your friends tell you that their parents are nice. You didn’t realize some fathers don’t yell all the time. Your parents divorce.
And you get even older. You learn that it’s called “verbal/emotional abuse”
And then you want out. You want it to stop, you want to live a normal life. You want to be the kid that isn’t afraid to go home, because you don’t want to be yelled at. You don’t want to live every day in fear of the next time you have to see him, because you know there’s a good chance he’s going to get mad over something. What will happen next time?
But it doesn’t matter what you want, because the courts think they know best. And that means, you will be spending time with him, no matter what. It’s the law.
You fall into a deep depression. “You can choose where to live when you’re 18 years old.” Who wants to live that way for so many more years? I didn’t. I wanted out, but there was no way out. And when I threatened to run away if they made me go there again, they just called the police to my house and forced me to go. They told my mom that if I continued to act out like this, they could just put me in a mental institution. That would be sure to stop me from rebelling.
That was about the point I started to seriously contemplate suicide. Nobody, not even the police, cared enough to help me. I had friends, but I’d never felt more alone. It would be so easy. They’d be sorry when I was gone.
But then everything changed. This dog came into my life, and I fell in love with her. She was not a perfect dog, but she was the perfect dog for me. I had never loved anything as much as I loved her, and all of the sudden I found a reason to keep fighting. I wasn’t going to kill myself – how could I? I could never leave behind this beautiful, amazing creature!
So we waited for three very long years, until I turned 18. I could make my own decisions, I could decide who to live with. And I did just that.
Now, whenever things get hard, when my world starts to fall apart, I turn and I look at this beautiful face. And I know we can make it through. I know that together, we can survive anything.